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Tackling child malnutrition in Jamaica, 1962–2020


  • Henrice Altink

    () (University of York)


On the eve of independence in 1962, malnutrition was the largest single cause of death in Jamaica for children under one. Although child malnutrition rates have rapidly declined since 1962, today Jamaica experiences a double burden of malnutrition: the coexistence of pockets of high child malnutrition with rising levels of childhood obesity. Based on a wide range of sources, including public documents, newspaper reports, scientific studies and reports by international agencies, this article examines a gradual decline in child malnutrition and the rise of the double burden of malnutrition in Jamaica from independence to the present. It will first of all show that changes in the global economy and overseas loans and aid both aided and limited the ability of the Jamaican government to lower child malnutrition levels and also contributed to a rise in childhood obesity. Second, it will illustrate that a traditional deficit-led approach to child malnutrition was followed in post-independent Jamaica, focussing on the public and individuals as targets for intervention and using quantitative measures to trace progress. And third, it will question whether the double burden of child malnutrition will give rise to ‘healthy publics’—‘dynamic collectives of people, ideas and environments that can enable health and well-being’.

Suggested Citation

  • Henrice Altink, 2020. "Tackling child malnutrition in Jamaica, 1962–2020," Palgrave Communications, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 7(1), pages 1-14, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:palcom:v:7:y:2020:i:1:d:10.1057_s41599-020-00536-5
    DOI: 10.1057/s41599-020-00536-5

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    References listed on IDEAS

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